“The Prince and the Bean” Excerpt: Prologue/Chapter 1

 

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Sergio Berrueta is a journalist and writer based out of Southern California. He is a podcast host for Film A Week Podcast and former ELAC Campus News writer. Inspirations include Walt Disney, John Steinbeck, The Simpsons and Shel Silverstien.


Author’s Note

The following is an excerpt from a novel currently in the works “The Prince and the Bean” by myself, Sergio Berrueta. I’ve been hard at work for close to a year on this project and hope to wrap up by the end of the year. This excerpt is to give a sample of what to expect from this longer retelling of the classic Hans Christen Anderson tale. Please read and please provide feedback. Thank you.

 

Prologue

Once upon a time, as most stories of this nature go, there was a man named Sebastian Guerrero.

Guerrero was a man of noble virtue, valor and cunning. After all, these sort of skills are needed when being one of the top ranking generals in all of Mexico. Guerrero fit the bill of what it took to be in the army with his stern and stocky appearance, his fine mustache and his collection of fine dress as he lead the charge. He, alongside his army of thousands, rose up against the French intervention of Mexico. Guerrero, under the leadership of Porfirio Diaz, helped kick out Napoleon III’s troop and end Emperor Maximilian’s idiotic reign in the Battle of Miahuatlan.

The battle was grueling as the troops were nearly out of food, water and supplies, yet they continued and persevered as Guerrero encouraged his men to put all the struggle and frustration into the heart of battle and strive for the land they loved. After the various victory celebrations, parties and the occasional drunken rant or two, the men went home. Guerrero went back to his hometown of Xochimilco. Here he was declared a hero and welcomed with open arms. That same night, he met the woman of his dreams, Isabella Sanchez.

Her hair was a wonderful raven color, her eyes gleamed in the moonlight and her smile attracted him to her. She had been affected by the aftermath of the wars as she could not get the supplies needed. Guerrero went out of his way in order to find her the supplies in order to woo her and got to know her in the process. The two hit it off straight away, regain in stories of their youth and basking in the wonders in and around their town. They soon married and became very public figures in the community of Mexico City that one day, when the opportunity came, Guerrero was designated as honorary mayor and protector of not just Xochimilco, but all of Mexico City. He ruled alongside his wife from their beautiful Castillo de Guerrero, overlooking the city and villages as a whole. Though high in power, they never saw themselves as any better or any worse and the people of the city respected them too highly.

The two then welcomed a child into the world in the form of Catalina. Catalina was the General and Isabella’s golden child as she was the key to continuing the legacy. Catalina grew up to be such a beauty with her mother’s raven hair, eyes that emeralds would envy and a kindness and good natured heart. Sebastian knew around her eighteenth year of life, he had to find a way to marry her off to continue the name of Guerrero.

Sebastian was getting older and needed to find someone to help. He understood a woman in power was still up for ridicule by the public, despite the nature of Elizabeth I all those centuries ago. He needed to find a suitor to help his daughter carry on the name. Sebastian, along with his good army friend Mateo, a bald headed and slender man, came up with trials that would test the suitors that came in. These trials were known as “Las Labores de La Vida y Amor,” or the Labors of Love and Life as they tested the suitors on leadership, passion, generosity and sanity. These trials were grueling, hectic and laughed off as sheer insanity by those invited to participate. These trials were the only thing Sebastian hid from his people.

Meanwhile, Catalina was starting to grow sick and tired of the trials and Isabella was becoming more annoyed. It became an obsession for Sebastian to find a successor and to find someone perfect to fit his needs more so than his daughter’s. He was growing tired and weary until an unexpected player came in.

Chapter 1 “Como Te Voy A Olvidar”

“Alright. Here goes nothing. Just go out there and put on a show. I mean, you always do, why wouldn’t you? You love this job. You get to not be yourself. Yourself feels kind of weak, but you aren’t weak. No! You are strong. At least, that’s what this costume shows off. This show is all I got left, so might as well do it,” Tomas said to himself.

Tomas Maldonado was a charro or a rodeo man. He wrangled horses, rode bulls, charmed the crowd with songs, made women yearn for him and was the epitome of the modern use of the word “cool.” Outside of this obvious for show persona lies an awkward not-so confident man. He played this charmer well, but he couldn’t pull it off outside the arena. He has grown a bit distant from the town of Santo he loves by becoming secluded and staying in his dressing room instead of going back home with his brother Miguel.

He looked to fit the part well with his groomed short hair, his beautiful handmade charro outfit of black fabric, gold piping and the undershirt of white and red. His brown boots with gold spurs glimmered in the light of the sun and the moon. His sombrero was big as most are, but not too distracting from him. He was handsome, but not too handsome in the way that he was practically unobtainable.

“Five minutes till showtime!,” the manager said.

“I’ll be there as soon as I can be! Come on, Tomas. You got this. Now, vamos!,” Tomas said.

The Santo Arena was Tomas’ comfort zone. Here he got to be something he could never be, El Principe Santo or the Prince Saint. He was admired, loved and respected by everyone that attended the show. Tomas began the show with an introduction and was well known in town, even if his brother was the more well regarded one.

“Evening, people of Santo. Tonight, I shall be showing you the finest in entertainment. I’ve been here for more than a year doing my best to keep you at bay. Leave your troubles at the door, drama at home and the struggles that plague your mind aside as I shall make you ooh and ahh. I shall thrill you, excite you, and maybe, just maybe, entice you,” said Tomas as he winked to the ladies in the front row.

They swooned and Tomas smiled. Children loved the tricks he did with his horse Champurrado as Tomas used his lasso to make him jump through loops as he twirled and dance alongside him. Men envied him as he would unleash the wild bull Filemon in the arena as he would give chase and use his lasso to wrangle the bull as he stood on his horse and proceeded to hop from Champurrado onto Filemon with ease. Women fawned over him with his voice singing the ballads of the locals while displaying his heartbreaks and quest for love on the forefront. Tomas gave it his all, but was looking for a break to come his way.

“Thank you for all the love and support tonight. I will be taking a break for a while as I need to sort some personal things out, but I want you to know when I come back, I will come back stronger and braver,” he told the crowd.

The crowd applauded and praised him knowing he would be back as Tomas always had a place in town. The show ended as Tomas talked to the children, flirted with women and mingled with the men in the crowd all in his Principe persona. Tomas went back to his dressing room and began to make his cot.

“Tomas, you have a visitor,” the manager said.

“If it’s one of the ladies, tell them I’m tired and to come back soon enough. I would love to see them, but I am much too tired. Also, just between me and you, I don’t think I’m ready yet,” Tomas said.

Just then, a tall slender built man entered much to Tomas’ surprise.

“Hence maybe I’m glad I’m not one of the women as I would feel a bit stood up,” he said.

“You have better luck than I. You actually live the character. Maybe we should trade places one day,” Tomas said jokingly.

While Tomas was a local celebrity, his brother was the true hero. Miguel had been serving in the Mexican army for quite some time and had amassed a bevy of supporters. Miguel had saved the town years ago not only from the French, but from local bandidos from neighboring villages. Miguel, however, was more confident outside of his career than his brother and gladly accepted the hand of women and others that express a form of admiration.

“I don’t know how you can do it given your state of mind,” Miguel said. “I would be a wreck night after night.”

“Out in the arena, I don’t have to be myself. I get to be another person. I feel at home,” Tomas replied.

“I can tell. You haven’t been home in months,” Miguel said looking around the room. “You only live a walk away.”

He noticed the cot Tomas was sitting on in the room along with clothes hanging from some strings and wire. He saw Champurrado in his stable near the clothes and a small cooking pot with a fire pit underneath it. This was Tomas’ home for now after a shake-up in his life. The shake-up, as we will call it now, was something that triggered Tomas into keeping away from home. He had been lost, confused and terrified at the conflicts that had gone in his home.

“It’s all I have right now, Miguel. This is all I want. I can’t go back. You know I can’t go back,” Tomas said,

“I understand, but you haven’t told anyone else of why you are doing this,” Miguel said.

“Because it’s embarrassing. You think I want to run the risk of losing myself, my reputation and persona because of what happened?,” Tomas asked.

Miguel felt the uneasiness of the situation at hand. He can see in Tomas’ eye the frustration and the sadness of the shake-up’s effects. He briefly sighed and sat by his brother.

“Whatever happened, it happened. I can’t tell you to just get over it or ease out of it. It might take weeks and days, but it’s been nearly seven months. She probably has moved on by now, living life. You should do the same,” Miguel said to him.

“Yes, I understand, but you don’t see what exactly happened. You weren’t there,” Tomas said.

“I know I wasn’t and if I was, I would be in the same position you are, no matter how strong I am. Heck, I’m a softie like you sometimes, which brings me to why I am here,” Miguel said.

Miguel pulled out two letters from his hands, one reading From Rosalina and another reading To Miguel Maldonando, Under Request of General Guerrero. He opened the letter from Rosalina first.

“Rosalina? The girl you meet three months ago got back to you?,” Tomas asked.

“Not just got back to me, but suggested we elope,” Miguel said.

“Elope as in ‘you and me can get away for weekend and go to Cancun’ or elope as in ‘let’s runaway, get married and go to Cancun’?,” Tomas asked.

“The second option,” Miguel said smiling away.

“But you just met her! That’s kind of foolish of you,” Tomas said. “I mean, you probably barely know her common interests, her desires, her favorite type of pan dulce. I mean, you… ,” Tomas ranted until Miguel cut him off.

“Yes, but I’m mad for her and I know her more than others, so I figure why not? Oh, and her favorite is the concha. Do not get me started on answering,“ Miguel said.

“Wait, what about the one from the General?,” Tomas asked.

“Oh, that. Well, this was for me and only me, but it did say that I can send someone in honor of me if I am dead, out of service or wish to withdraw,” Miguel told Tomas as he handed him the letter.

“You could have also just sent it back,” Tomas replied.

“No, because this will be a good opportunity for you considering what you are still dealing with. Besides, you get to work alongside the General, show off your skills and tell him what a great brother he is missing out on,” Miguel joked.

“It always goes back to you, doesn’t it?,” Tomas said. “Alright, I will go. Let me just read the letter.”

Miguel suddenly grabs the letter.

“You have to promise me that you will not see the letter or open it till you arrive at the door, okay?,” Miguel requested.

“Wait, why? I have the right to see the letter,” Tomas said, confused by his brother’s request.

“I want it to be a surprise,” Miguel said.

“A surprise for the next three days? I’m going to get cautious,” Tomas replied.

“You’ll be fine. It’s army business.”

“Are you sure it isn’t a ruse?”

“It could be or it could not be.”

“Does it involve fighting?”

“You can say that.”

“If I honor it and go through with it, what do I receive?”

“Something you didn’t think you wanted. Maybe, a new horse.”

Champurrado neighed in disgust.

“Hmm…I’ll believe you. It better not be any funny business. That’s my job… sort of,” Tomas said.

“Tomas, I want you to know that what I am giving you is something that will make you become a better person. You fit the mold of what the General needs and wants. You’ve got this in your hand, not just figuratively or literally. I promise you that it will be much deserved. Besides, you’re taking a break anyway. Consider it a vacation, albeit an odd one,” Miguel said with a smile on his face.

Tomas knew his brother meant well. He trusted that smile before and knew what he had been given meant a lot to his brother.

“I’ll do this because I love you,” Tomas said, somewhat somber.

“Don’t do it just for me. Do it for yourself. You deserve it,” Miguel said. “Oh, by the way, leave tonight. You are expected in three days, remember?,” Miguel said.

“Crap, really?,” Tomas asked bewildered.

“Well, more like two days. I got this yesterday,” Miguel replied.

“That does not help. I have to pack and quick. See you soon, Miguel. Hope you and Rosalina have a good one!,” Tomas exclaimed. “Darn, how am I gonna fit the cooking pot?”

Miguel walked away and said under his breath as he closed the door.

“He’s gonna hate me for sending him to fight for love,” Miguel said.

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Personal Ramblings: Last Year, I Relapsed & Attempted Suicide

NOTE: Due to the events discussed, certain names have been changed.

I’ve discussed my problems with suicide on this blog here before and the shortcomings I’ve had with bouts of depression along with my attempts. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to most of my family members and friends, I relapsed after a rough series of events. It’s a bit long, but I needed to get it off my chest in order to move on with the burden I’ve been holding for a year now.

One Author in Search of a Character

Last year, I went through a bad break-up. I had been with my girlfriend Cassie at the time for roughly two years and it was going pretty well until one day, she snapped. Cassie had mental health issues from frequent voices in her hear head telling her things and bouts with depression every now and then. For full disclosure, I knew about it going into the relationship. I knew one day things would get bad.

“I never want you to see when it gets bad, ” she said. I ensured her that I would help her, even when that was the case.

Cassie was currently working on a play with a local theater and it was opening. I saw the play and cheered her on, but something was different that night. I wanted to talk to her and patch things up. We had been on a break for about a month and I felt we needed to work out what was going on.

From there, we walked to join some of the actors for some beer and pizza. She started to berate me in a manner that was not her and it wasn’t. It was the bad side of voices taking over. She talked down to me about my aspiration of going to Arizona State University saying I was only leaving her to find someone better. I never went on to apply out of fear of losing her, yet here I was, being told I was going to leave her. She also said that I was no longer the person she wanted to be around and telling me I was being childish and immature for wanting her to relax and not stress. Then, she hit me with her words.

“You are stressing out and getting frustrated. You keep complaining about it and saying how you needed a break. I’ve been trying and it’s killing you,” I said.

“Yeah, and that’s what this business is about. this is my dream and not yours. You will always be second. No matter what goes on in life, acting will be number one and my friends, my family and you will always be second,” Cassie said.

I never asked to be first, but to be told I was secondary along with everyone else was a hard pill to swallow. I was in shock and tearing up.

“Stop it with that. you promise not to be stupid and bring this up?” she said.

“Yes,” I said.

“Do you promise not to act like an idiot?”

“I promise.”

I faked an entire conversation with her in the pizza place as to not be supsicious. There was a glimmer of the Cassie I loved, but that was diminishing as I replayed the past few minutes in my head.

Earlier, at the play, when her character appeared on stage, I stared at the program multiple times to see if an understudy was playing as I did not recognize her. She seemed almost ghostly with the pale makeup covering her olive skin and her voice sounding almost as a youthful teenager. I should have seen that as the first sign things were getting worse.

 

“Bridge Over Troubled Water”

The next Wednesday, I had to be on set all day for a short web series I was taking a part in along with Cassie. It was based on our relationship at the time and our personalities being so different. It only saw the light of day in two episodes for reasons later on., I set up my living room for the video we are shooting.

It is roughly going to be a twelve-hour day. I make breakfast with optimism to save face for the production crew including Billy, a mutual friend of mine and Cassie, Demarcus, a new guy I’ve never met but is good with lights, and Elizabeth, a production assistant to Billy that day. I give them their breakfast along with providing drinks for them until Cassie walks in. Cassie appears tired, frustrated and thoroughly annoyed.

“Morning, Cassie. Are you hungry? I have breakfast set up. We are all setup and ready to g-”

“Fuck off and let’s just get this over with it,” she replied.

Me, taken aback, just continues on and brush it off. She’s just pissed. We set up the first shot inside and begin to film. Cassie looks at me.

“For the rest of the day, we are not together. We are not a couple. We are just two actors working together. Don’t even bother talking to me or cheering me up. It’s not going to work, so let’s do this and get out, okay?” she said.

I just nod. Cassie is gone. I’m not dealing with Cassie anymore. I’m dealing with a voice inside her. I’m dealing with another persona or maybe this is actually Cassie.

After this scene, we set up for another scene. Here, we act as two warriors battling one another with horribly made suit of armor of towels, sleep pants and pajamas. We test out the weapons to make sure they work and I accidentally hit Cassie. I apologize for my mistake and Cassie grabs her fake plastic sword and whacks me on top of the head. On purpose. She looked at me in pure anger and rage.

Oh shit, this is the bad side. This IS Cassie. I’m fucked and she’s gone, I realize.

“The Beast Inside”

The next scene, every shot on film and in frame is real. Cassie is physically destroying me on film. It’s not longer a joke, she is using the scene to hit me and I can’t do anything. I want to say something. I want to tell Elizabeth and Billy to turn it off, but I don’t want to. I have to keep going and power through. The hits grow from soft for the scene to harder with every smack. She’s hurting me and I want to say something, but my heart won’t let me.

We take down the setup of the living room, pack it in the production van (in this case, a beat up Astro) and leave. On the way to the next location, myself, now in defeat after not saying I was hurting.

“Serg, remember the script you wrote for the next episode for us to rewrite it? We have a sample her for you,” Billy says handing me the pages.

“Wait? Why is Demarcus’ name on it?” I asked.

Cassie gives me an annoyed look, then gets the pages to say.

“Your script was not good , so we got him to punch it up,” Cassie said. “We kept the concept of the Twilight Zone feel and worked around it.”

They didn’t. The Twilight Zone parody was gone and it was an original script from the ground up. My name was nowhere seen in the written by list. This was a new script they were passing off as a revised version of mine. I was getting pushed off the project behind-the-scenes after asking them to help rewrite it. Instead, they give it to someone I hardly knew. I was upset, but that was the least of my problems that day.

We shoot insert shots of a scene with myself opening the door to see Cassie doing something odd off camera. I could see Cassie in the corner of my eye more annoyed at the fact I was there. I can feel her anger and her pissed off. After the scenes, I tried to talk to her about how I was feeling as I needed and outlet and she was the only one.

“I said not to bother now go back over there. Me and Billy have to go over some production stuff. Now sit down and focus on something else,” Cassie said. Billy noticed something was wrong, as did Elizabeth. I stepped outside and started to tear up. I couldn’t do this. Suddenly, a phone call.

“Hello?”

“Hi, son! How’s it going?”

“Horrible. Nothing is working out and she isn’t herself. I don’t think I can do this anymore. I’m losing it.”

“Come home then if you feel that way,” my mother said, concern in her voice.

Stubborn me won’t let that happen.

“I have to stick with it. I have to,” I say.

“Call me if anything, please?” she says. “See you later, alligator.”

I hang up and try to breathe in as Billy appears.

“It’s going to be okay. I promise. You are going to get through this. You are stronger than what is going on right now and you have the drive to succeed. I don’t know exactly what is happening as I don’t want to get involved, but you need to carry on as we are all relying on you. Even Cassie knows that,” Billy said. “I overheard the conversation with our mother.”

(Billy, if you know who are, despite what your affiliation is with Cassie at the moment, I hope you know that those words helped a lot. Thanks for that at least. Sorry it does not work out after all this).

We catch up with the actors, Edith and Tom, playing the couple we will be going on a double date for pizza with as the episode calls for. How my love of pizza is not ruined, I’ll never know, but that’s besides the point. It was just a long night growing longer. These two were great actors, played off each other well, despite Edith having problems with him. They felt more like a true couple than the couple falling apart.

“Rough Hands”

As the night rolled in and the scene played, some of the crew could see the sadness and shock on my face. One actress who only appeared in this one scene came up and asked.

“Is everything okay?” she says.

Cassie looked me with an annoyed glance.

“I’m fine,” I say.

She gave a half-smile and walked off to dress for her part. The next scenes I had to act like one half of a couple, barely making it through life. Every scene I became more tired and unwilling to give a solid performance. Cassie was a bit annoyed, until a small mark of sadness came over her. Seeing that, it encouraged me to keep on with the performance, work tirelessly sitting in that pizza booth waiting for the shoot to end.

I acted to the best I could and put my energy into it all. It was no longer because I wanted to. It was to satisfy Cassie and try to win her over. I was no longer myself, just an auto-pilot human prop. I no longer felt human.

The shoot ends, we pack things up and I’m ready to go. I get out of the pizza place slightly expecting Cassie and I to talk and work things out. She avoids me as if I was lesser and talks to the production crew, joking and laughing away.

I’m by the van to go home and begin to open my phone to find the nearest Uber. Cassie seldom looks at me and the others don’t pay me any mind. I’m all alone, broken and beaten, contemplating the end of not just the relationship, but of myself.

They decide to take me home with Cassie in the car still chatting away with the rest of the crew of actors and production. I’m in the back looking at the night sky, the only thing that keeps me sane. I’m lost in the possibilities, the memories that are going to end and the inevitable that may happen when I get home. Cassie does not bat an eye, instead more focused on the people in the car.

They coincidentally begin to talk about death and the people they lost in high school that were close to them. They talk of a boy name Brad who was tragically killed in an accident and extend from there. It’s graphic, poignant and tragic, yet they all miss him. This added fuel to the fire inside my mind.

As they pull up to my place, I begin to make my exit, grab my gear and costumes from the shoot and head to the door. As I go to grab my bag, Cassie puts out her hand to grab mine. She has not bothered once to pay any mind to me or what’s going on in my head.

I grew furious and angered inside as if this was the proper moment. I grab her hand to reassure her there was still love and, honestly, that’s the last memory I have of her. Not even of her face or anything, just her hand reaching out. I didn’t bother to look at her. I did not want to know what that face looked like. I left yelling at all of them to have a good night and try not to fuck things up like I tend to do. They veered off and I meant into the house.

I threw my things on the floor and began to have a mental breakdown. I was confused, scared and anxious about everything. I kept asking myself why it was not panning out, what I did wrong and why I wasn’t good enough. I was losing my composure and my mind was not in the proper state of being.

I broke down on the kitchen floor and contemplated what happened. The kitchen was dark with only a candle with a Saint on it lighting the place and myself curled up on the floor wondering if this was the time to finally call it quits, but not just from the relationship, but from life itself.

I grabbed myself up and began beating myself with the kitchen drawers in attempt to knock me out cold and draw blood. That didn’t work, so I attempted to find painkillers, but alas, no luck. I was relapsing and I could not control it. I reached for the knife drawer and held on to the biggest knife I could find. I was grabbing it and held on. I looked at the ceiling, I looked at the candle and I accepted my fate that I was ready to end it.

My phone began to go off with the Sonic the Hedgehog ring sound effect. I had it for Messenger and I swipe on my phone to see who it is stopping me from giving into impulsive fate. I check my phone and it is Jerry.

Jerry has been my best friend for more than a decade and if anyone who is anyone is going to take me away from the stress of the reality before me, it was him. He is practically my brother at this point as I tell him anything and everything. I’m surprised I have not married him yet.

“Hey buddy, how’s it going?” he writes in the message.

I drop the knife into the drawer and I begin to focus. I realized I’m letting it all get to me including Cassie’s attitude the whole day. I’m struggling to talk, even via message and decide to be calm.

“I’m feeling horrible. This day was hell and I am so hungry and I can eat a horse,” I reply back. Jerry and I usually eat food together. It is our social activity and I have a feeling he hasn’t eaten all day.

“I am hungry too. Haven’t eaten all day,” Jerry replies. I know him better than he knows himself.

“Norm’s?” I ask. It’s a famous local franchise chain in Los Angeles simliar to Denny’s and open 24/7.

“Fuck it, I’m game,” he says. “I’ll pick you up after work.”

He came later and practically saved me from my own demise. In that late night hour of roughly 1 am, steak and eggs feel like home and JErry’s humor and company feels like a God send or some form of divine intervention. I never let him know about what happened in that moment of messaging back and forth and ensure that we have a good time. I get it out in the open and Jerry helps me cope.

“You love her and if it doesn’t work out, then just be prepared for it. Everything seems horrible right now, but knowing you, you will continue to be you and move on,” Jerry says.

It’s encouraging and helps me know at least when things get rough, I should be okay for the most part.

Grace/Portrait of Sebastia Juñer Vidal

 

A week passes since that day and I message Jerry to see when he was free. Luckily, our schedules worked well enough for us to go out on the following Tuesday as we had days off then. The day was set in stone.

I broke out into my trademark going out getup of a slim black blazer, a Ducktales T-shirt and some tight jeans that could still fit me. Jerry did the same, minus the Ducktales T-shirt. We drove to Amoeba Records in Hollywood were I got myself Mulholland Drive on Blu-Ray and headed out for a pint at Wirsthaus out in West Los Angles to indulge in Bravarian sausage and a pint of Erdinger Weissbier. I even caught up with an old love interest name Claire the same day, which Cassie steered me away from for quite a long time. Everything was causal until me and Jerry decided something better.

“Hey, LACMA (Los Angeles County Museuem of Art) is free after 3 right now. We should go,” I said to Jerry who was knee deep in his pint.

“Fuck it, I’m game,” Jerry said as he said before as it is his trademark response for being up to any challenge.

We headed to LACMA and paid for the expensive ass parking of $12, which is actually quite cheap by LA standards. Here, we entered the world of art from the modern and the contemporary. We explored and took pictures whenever we could. One piece of art struck me at first. It was a piece called Grace by Billy Al Bengston.

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Something about it struck me in a way. It was dark and mysterious with a heart trapped in another frame in the center. The photo above does not do it justice (John Berger is crying right now) as it was a stark marvel of black and grey taking hold of the heart. I felt the heart was equal to the state of my heart at the moment: trapped under the darkness and gloom and it itself being drenched in the colors of it.

Me and Jerry moved on through exhibits and put our phones away as the next rooms where of French artist Henri Matisse and Spanish artist Pablo Picasso in the flesh right before us. They were marvelous to see face-to-face with the strokes and blemishes oozing off the canvas and the hard labor being shown. It was gorgeous to behold, yet one painting struck me.

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Portrait of Sebastia Juner Vidal by Pablo Picasso drew me out from seeing the other paintings and plunged me in. The rich dark hues of blue, the look of doubt on his face and the only glimmer of light within the rose of the woman next to him. It was lovely to stare and be entranced when a sudden thought in my mind occurred.

It’s over. I know it’s going to end. I’m finally enjoying myself and experiencing something new. I’m not prepared for it to go away so suddenly, I said to myself. But I’ll do my best when it comes.

Epilogue

And it did and, luckily, nothing has been as rough or enduring since. Some days were harder than other and I’m near the end of moving on from it all. In one of my final conversations with Cassie, she revealed that she felt she was taking me away from my potential.

I think she was right in that aspect. I started to take time for myself, got into more podcasting and being around those I love and care about, got a much better job than the one I had before and intern in a field I never thought I could be apart of.

I started focusing on myself more since, growing and maturing a lot since then despite the pain. I’m still growing and still continuing on without any relapses and seeing what happens next. I look forward to whatever happens next.

 

Personal Ramblings: Dreaming of a World I Thought We’d Never See

“The Grid. A digital frontier. I tried to picture clusters of information as they moved through the computer. What did they look like? Ships? motorcycles? Were the circuits like freeways? I kept dreaming of a world I thought I’d never see. And then, one day…” – Kevin Flynn, TRON: Legacy, 2010

PRDream

It was around the strange days of freshman year in high school that I had heard of the film called TRONTRON is a cult film from 1982 produced by Walt Disney Pictures involving Kevin Flynn, played by Jeff Bridges, entering the strange world of the computer on the grid. Flynn as his program CLU teamed up with TRON, played by Bruce Boxleitner, took take down the nefarious MCP (Master Control Program), voiced by David Warner, and his assistant Sark, also played by David Warner. It’s a well-known piece of 80’s pop culture that has been ingrained in the heads of those obsessed with technology.

tron

Me and Jerry, my best friend, knew about it from Kingdom Hearts II through a world within the game called “Space Paranoids.” We were attracted to sights of the level and the sounds it brought. It being in the video game brought the world of TRON to a new light and gave us an interest into the concept. Fortunately, it also allowed both of us to dream a dream project based off something that astounded us within: the lightcycle.

We were hooked. Imagine riding one of those bad boys in real life with sharp turns, neon glowing down the street and being immersed into what it can do. That’s when the dream started to take shape.

“Man, that part with Sora in the lightcycle was the shit. Dude, they should make that into a ride or something,” Jerry said with childlike enthusiasm.

“The Disney Imagineers should get on this ASAP. Wait, screw it, we can make the TRON ride,” I replied back.

The TRON ride was a dream in our heads along with being a constant topic brought up in small talk. The talks got more serious every time it was brought up.

“There needs to be a way to perfect the perfect 90 degree turn or, at the very least, cheat it out,” I brought up one day.

“Dude, it’s easy. We just have to assemble some piston that can help amplify the turn to make it feel like a sharp right angle,” Jerry said as I gave him the “I’m not that smart, sorry” glare.

Jerry took time to figure out what was needed for the ride. I began looking at roller coasters and studying what makes them thrilling and exciting. I also tried to find the perfect car for it all. One day on a visit to Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, Calif., me and Jerry, along with with my cousin Donovan, saw a ride that gave us the perfect car to use.

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The Pony Express Source: Knott’s Berry Farm

Pony Express uses a motorbike car in order to replicate the feeling of riding a horse or a motorcycle. We got on the ride and looked at each other on launch.

“This is perfect for the TRON ride. It’s actually really comfor…” Jerry said as the ride launched and we were on our way to TRON ride bliss with our dream in tact.

As the years went by and a sequel released in 2010, our interest piqued once again to examine the new style of lightcycle and see if it can add anything.

It was neat to see the new designs take shape along with the new ways they move, even eliminating the sharp 90 degree turn. Jerry saw the design and dug the aesthetics of the way it looks, but still wanted it to be based on the original film due to the 80’s still being big. The sequel gave the audience of the modern world another vision of a fully realized world and I felt we could take some of the aspects of that and insert it into the ride.

Little did we know that this dream was already in the planning stages of turning into a ride. This year, the dream we’d never thought we see was realized at Shanghai Disneyland.

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 This is a beautiful sight to behold. (Source: Shanghai Disney Resort)

Shanghai Disneyland is now home to a dream ride known as TRON Lightcycle Power Run. From what I gathered from the website, the ride allows people to experience the beauty of the lightcycle and the Grid to face off against evil programs in a race that is sure to be thrilling. It sounds awesome and better than what we can imagine. We imagined a ride closer to that of the classic Grid, but this goes above and beyond the call of what we dreamed. Yes, we are upset it doesn’t cheat out a beautiful 90 degree turn, but it accomplished something. Something I’d never thought we’d see.

Personal Ramblings: Fear the Spider, Admire the Man

Fear the Spider, Admire the Man

Me and spiders have never gotten along. There is no sense for me to acknowledge their existence as they are merely a small part of my life. Unfortnately, for the purposes of storytelling, I must admit I have a strong case of arachnophobia.

Arachnophobia is the fear of spiders. This can range from being terrified by the common Daddy Long Legs to the Goliath Bird Eating Spider and is no easy phobia to deal with. My case is not as severe as others as Daddy Long Legs I am okay with. That is the only form of “spider” I draw the line at.

My archnophobia stems from the cruel conincidence that is watching Arachnophobia as a child. The film dealt with spiders invading a town and killing people with Jeff Daniels as the hero and John Goodman as an exterminator. The climax of the film involves Daniels going to town on not only the little spiders, but a big motherfucker of a spider that is horrifying beyond belief. At one point, it jumps towards Daniels and Daniels lights it on fire. A big ass spider is horrifying enough, but attach flames to it and it is from the seventh layer of Nopeville.

This film terrified the utter hell out of me. Those arachnids with their beady eyes, their skinny legs and their frames unknown to man haunted my dreams. I necer wanted to see one spider ever again.

The Universe Decided Against Me

One to two weeks later at my elementary school in my Whittier White childhood, my teacher was out for the week and hired a sub. The sub was not only a teacher, but an expert of exotic animals. She was a small Asian woman who was very friendly and knew how to grab kids’ attention.

The first day she came to sub, she brough out a ball python. She made the class write in our Spartan journals about our experience and what they appraciated about each creature she brought in. Me and snakes are friends as I always loved how they moved without the need for arms or legs, so I wrote about that. It was a joy to see and hold, leaving me curious to see what was next.

The next day, we were getting ready to learn about the exciting new animal she was to bring for us to see and out came a Red Rose Hair tarantula. I remember seeing the hair of it with its red stripes and the slow unerving crawl it had going up the sub’s arm. I immediately started crying in front of my peers whike trying to ask politely to sit down because tears and snot were building inside of me. I was wrecked with fear and pure embarassment. The horror was real and I did not want to partake in seeing the face of that “thing.” A few of the kids laughed as I sat in my chair away from them to write about the tarantula in my journal. I was the only one.

I am 23 years old as of this writing and still a wuss about them. I cringed going through photos of spiders or tarantulas in books and turn away from them if they are on screen. I get anxious at pet stores in when I pass by their glass rooms fearing they can break fee. I cannot pass through the Animal Planet section at Toys R Us due to the giant remote control tarantulas and plastic giant spiders. It’s practically a sad curse. This has led to an interesting question from my friend Jerry.

“Wait, you hate spiders, but you love Spider-Man? How the hell does that work?”

My answer was persistence. The real answer is sort of odd. Smack in between X-Men and Power Rangers was your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man in Spider-Man: The Animated Series on Fox Kids. He was (and is) a hero I absolutely love. Raised in Queens, New York, Peter Parker was a teenager bitten by a radioactive spider, harnesses the amazing power of one while balancing great responsibility and considered by J. Jonah Jameson to be menace to the city. He gets around by crawling on walls or swinging via web shooter technology he built on his own. He has a sense of danger when something is by and superhuman strength. He is also witty, curious and intelligent on par with Tony Stark.

He is also human like the rest of us. He constantly deal with too many things at once while fighting the likes of the Sinister Six. Be it his relationship with Mary Jane Watson, his talks with Aunt May or dealing with his boss wanting pictures of Spider-Man, Peter is always trying to get his shit together. As a kid, being Spider-Man to fight crime and save the world is a dream. Being an adult, being Spider-Man would definitely suck to add to the work load in place.

I love seeing him come in to save the city from Mysterio. I loved his constant banter and comments toward the world around him just treating it as another day in New York. I enjoyed that he dealed with real issues from the death of his first love Gwen Stacy to his own struggles of his balancing act of his hero life and reality. He is a simple concept of a man with superhuman ability, but has the complexities a majority of us have.

Every iteration on has treated special attention tto getting that across. Tobey McGuire’s portrayal embracedd the role of his hero world while Andrew Garfield’s portrayal embraced the person behind the mask, yet they both remembered reality had to set in every now and then, for better or worse. I have yet to see Captain America: Civil War, so I do not know how Tom Holland pulls it off, but I have heard spectacular things.

Peter is relatable in many ways, but he is the exact same in ability as the thing I fear the most, so what gives? It comes down to the honest answer of cruel irony at face value, but there is another layer to it for it personally.

Comfortability

I took some time to really think about that question and realize the difference. The simple answer would be that one is fictional character that is human and the other is a real creature that I do not like. The more complex answer is I never built comfortablity with spiders, but I built a layer of comfort with Spider-Man.

Spider-Man always made me feel comfortable to be into or be surrounded by because he was a regular guy that happen to be a superhero. I embraced his character in countless TV shows, films. video games and in music (more so the Ramones cover of the 60’s TV theme and less Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark). I built that comfortability by relating to what the character is. Spiders are another matter.

I never built the comfortability with them as I would with a dog or a cat. I always pushed them aside or ran at everyminstance of their mention of image. I am still surprised I sat through Chamber of Secrets at this point. Lately, I have been thinking of giving them a chance since I already am comfortable with small plastic toys of them and images of their eight-legs on the internet and can stand next to smaller ones. I should probably start to build comfortablitiy, but in baby steps. I am not going to just waltz into a Petco and say “can I please put the tarantula on my hand?” as a stsrt, but just be closer to them.

It is an odd answer to come up with, but that is why I am able to embrace one over the other. I fear the spider, but I admire the man.

Now, Man-Spider is a different story.

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Well, damn.

Personal Ramblings + : The Last Starfighter!

In the last Personal Ramblings, “Me, You and Psychiatry Too,” I mentioned the date was to see The Last Starfighter at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, CA. The focus was more on the museum beforehand, but after a talk with Angel after she read it, she said it would be cool to write about the actual date part. Honestly, I agree as it was actual fun as hell. So without further ado, The Last Starfighter!

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I always wanted to go on a date to see a classic film on the big screen. I had seen re-releases with friends beforehand such as Titanic, The Lion King, Jurassic Park and Beauty and the Beast. I had even seen Mary Poppins at the El Capitan Theatre, but all these had been digital projection. I want the grit and dirt of film projection and I wanted to go to another revival theatre. One night while browsing the web, I stumbled upon The Last Starfighter playing at the Eygptian in 70 mm with a cast and crew Q & A on a rare Thursday night I had off of work.

The Last Starfighter, for those that do not know (and that’s many), is a cult science fiction classic from 1984. It stars Lance Guest as Alex Rogan, a down-on-his-luck teen who happens to be extremely good at the arcade game Starfighter. Little does he know is that it is actually a test creates by Centauri, an alien inventor played by Robert Preston, to find the best starfighter in the galaxy to help an alien war going on between the Rylan Star League and Ko-Dan Empire. Alex is picked as he obtained the highest score and it is now up to him to save the galaxy. The plot is ridiculous the humor is corny, but the action and the acting is surprisingly great. I asked Angel if she was up for seeing it with me.

“You mean Enemy Mine?,” she asked.
“No, what the hell is that?,” I asked back.
“OH! I know which one you are talking about! Yes, I would love it,” she said.

It was all set and ready to go. After the aformentioned experience beforehand, we headed to the Egyptian Theatre. It is quite the relic of time. It is designed as a Egyptian palace with its stone walls and hieroglyphics aboumd. It is grandiose and a reminder of the days of extravagant premieres nearly every day. Now, it is quiet and tame with film buffs and cult fanatics abound. We grab our tickets and head off into the theater.

It was practically home. In the confines of the black and red lobby was the smell of popcorn and hot dogs with the staff of beautiful manic pixie girls and Silverlake hipster men. Conversations of cinema off in the background and posters of Matthew McConaughey, the recipient of the 2014 American Cinematheque Award, aligned a section of the lobby. The fact a box of candy, a soda and large popcorn were less than $12 was just a bonus to the whole thing.

We sit down and get situated to see the film with other fans. They ranged from big burly men in 80’s pop culture shirts to skinny bearded men outside of a Cameron Crowe feature. Some women were dressed in their nightly best with their boyfriends while others were just rocking their casual badass geek clothes. The cast of the film where scattered throughout the audience leading to a fun game of “Where the hell is Lance Guest?”

One guy in particular that sat next to us was in a hurry to come in. He was a major fan coming in with a black leather jacket complete with a patch of the Starfighter arcade logo. He was quite handsome with the Julian Casablancas look going. He was in delight and glee, despite suffering a broken leg earlier in the week. He came in on crutches and practically forced himself to co.e and see it. It was admirable dedicstion. Even his girlfriend, who appeared later on, was impressed he managed to make it.

Then the theater darkened, the film started up and the sound was non-existent. The sound was silence as the titles flashed. Most of us were in a panic, but issue was quickly resolved. There is was with the pops of the film grain, the wear of the print and the sound as crisp as ever with Chris Safan’s score guding the audience through the stars. It was beautiful and charming to see.

We laughed at the robot decoy Beta as Alex on Earth causing a ruckus. We teared up as Centauri made his sacrifice to save Alex. We booed ehen the evil Xur, played by Norman Snow, appeared on screen. We cheered loudly when Alex unleashed the Death Blossom alongside under the gudience of his new found friend Grig, played by Dan O’herlihy. We swooned when Alex returned home to kiss his girlfriend Maggie, played by Catherine Mary Stewart, and bring her up to the stars with him. It was as if we all went to a movie house in the 80’s and experienced it for the first time again.

The Q & A was interesting with the stars happy to see fans of the film come out and support. We eventually found Lance Guest who told us he had not seen it in years.  Catherine Mary Stewart was still beyond gorgeous. They shared their memories about making the film, the long since passed friends they made on set and the possible crushed on set. The fun aspect was the facts as well from the director Nick Castle being the first Michael Myers in John Carpenter’s Halloween to the fact that the graphics and CGI used in the film can be easily store in the Samsung Galaxy smartphone I am writing this post with and it would still have tons of gigabytes left over. It was fascinating and everyone asked about a remake or a sequel, which I would not mind at all if any of those got made.

The night was perfect and the mood was just right. Me and Angel headed home after all of that on the Metro. As we were sitting in the Gold Line, she slept in my arms as I looked to the stars wondering “man, it would be something if that film was real. It would be.”

Personal Ramblings: An Enigma Appears

Welcome back to Personal Ramblings. This is where I put my heart, soul and dignity (at points) out on display for those to ponder and wonder “Who the hell is this guy anyway?” Last time, we talked about a break-up that most seem to know the story of already with little unheard of details in between. This time, I want to take time out of my hectic nd horrid schedule to talk about a story no one has really heard about. This is the story of an anigma named Darlene.

An Enigma Appears

It was the summer of 2007.

It was a scorcher in most cases as many days were spent sweating indoors and outdoors. My sister was hanginf out with her calvacade of pals. This included the very kept to herself lesbian tomboy Tanya, the poster child of rebellion Cristina and the humorous smartass Matthew. Sometimes the smart, yet ditzy Sylvia would appear, but she never really stuck around. They always came over to hang back, talk about the childhood days of only seven years prior and regale themselves in the current happenings of the formidible high school world.

At times, I was included out of sympathy while mostly being picked on a good 80 percent of the tjme for it. I had just had my first high school experience along with my first heartbreak (which is a story I have bludgened people to death with and will not be writing out of respect of their sanity). Here I am a timid awkward boy just trying to be cool spouting. ovie quotes and terrible jokes in the process. I just stuck around enjoying the bullshit being spewed by these “older-by-one-year-olds” because it was insightful, especially when underage drinking was involved, but I digress. One day, my sister brought a new friend over.

She was the enigma.

Her name was Darlene. She had a strange combination of wavy and curly hair. She had a face that was close to the charms of Kat Dennings. She was simply gorgeous to look at. She was the kind of woman who appears as a manic pixie dream, but this played out differently then those cliches. I took an interest in her after the falling out of the Freshman heartbreak and my various iduocy. She also took an interest in me during this time.

“And this is my brother, Junior,” my sister introduced me to her.
“Oh, hi,” she said to me with a smile.
“You can also call me Sergio if you like as well. I do not mind either one,” I replied.

We hit it off from there. One day, the plot thickened. She was with Jenni’s Scooby gang just conversing about all the bullshit until she pulled me aside. I was wondering why because I had not experience such a thing yet.

“Could I have your number?,” Darlene said with a blushing stare.
“What? Yes! Of course,” I a swerved back like a complete schoolboy.

She gave me her number and I gave her mine. That is when the enigma began to take hold on my heart and mind.

“To die by your side is such a heavenly way to die”

There was a night I was ready to head to bed, but for some reason, I could not get any sleep due to the nightly warmth of the season. I turned on the local channels filled with syndicated shows scouring for at least a Seinfeld rerun of infomercial to save my sanity. As I surfed the static waves, my cellphone rang. I saw the screen of my RAZR say “Darlene.” This was unexpected.

“Hello,” she said.
“Hi. This is kind of late,” I replied.
“I know, but I can’t sleep.”
“Neither can I. Guess we are in the same boat.”
“Yes. Umm, what are you up to?”
“Suffering through lack of anything good on.”
“That is harsh. Maybe I can help with that.”
“What?”

This was a twist. She wants to help keep me up. How so? I did not know yet how to really hold a conversation, but now a beautiful older girl is asking me if she can help me stay awake. It was a tad perplexing. Hell, I was worried the conversation would turn into a date with Rosie Palms over the phone. Luckily, that did not.

“You know, get to know you a bit. Talk to you to help you and I sleep,” she explained.
“Sure,” I replied while still hesitant.
“I’m laying alone. It is a shame. It’s too hot to sleep.”
” It is.”
“I rather be with someone to talk to. Imagine if you were here.”
“I expect it would be wonderful.”
“More than that. It would be great. What are you wearing right now?”
“Umm…”

Poor 14 year-old Serg is struggling now. He needs to just be honest.

“A Smiths T-Shirt and…boxers…”
“Oh,” she said with excitement. “Is that the white shirt?,” she asked.
“Yes, it is. It’s the only one I own. I’m surprised I don’t have more.”
“Ha, that is funny. If you were next to me, I’d be wearing the shirt.”

Oh Crap.

“Really? Why,” I said knowing the reason, but denying it.
“It looks comfy. I like wearing guy shirts. Especially if I’m interested in them,” she said.
“Wait. I just met you and you are interested?”
“Of course, you’re cute. I think you are really sweet and care a lot.”
“I’m blushing. Damn you.”
“I expected that. So, if you were here, what would you do?”

Well, damn, she had me.

I was hooked in and was actually happy about it. I had other girl friends call, but this was leading somewhere new and unexpected.

“Maybe we can relax a bit and listen to music or watch a movie. It is late,” I tell her.
“I would love it. It would be nice,” she said. “We seem to have the same taste in things. I know, I’m older, but I do appreciate a person that has good taste.
“I’m glad you do. I mean it would be friendl-”
“Could you hold my hand?”
“What?”
“Yeah, just hold it. Maybe then I know if you are just as interested.”
“Umm, sure. I’m…okay with that.”
“Maybe even sleep together.”

Now, when you are fourteen and barely in high school, that last line means that sex is an option. I was flustered. I was a mess inside. My mind was fighting my conscience and libido in a millisecond.

“Whoa, that’s a b-,” I began to say as she cut me off.
“You can cuddle me, make sure I’m safe throughout the night and then when we wake up, just smile together and be happy,” she said.
“Oh, I thought…”
“Oh, no. Not that. Not yet anyway,” she replied chuckling.
“I’m all for this,” I said.
“Maybe then I can see if we can just escape together,” she said.
“Escape?”
“Run away. That is probably too much, but it’s a nice dream.”
“No, I love it. I would like that very much.”

The conversation lingered on a bit till we said goodnight.

An Enigma Disappears

The next weekend she came over to visit my sister. My sister and her friend Cristina got a bit drunk or so. I honestly forgot the reason for both of them being passed out from exhaustion. Darlene was there and she looked at me.

“Hey you!,” she said happily.
“Oh hi. Are you tired like them?,” I say pointing to the two sleeping carcasses on the bed. Darlene was on the floor laying down just staring at me.
“Come here,” she said.

I approached her.

“Lay next to me,” she said.
“You sure it’s okay. I mean, they are right there,” I said.
“They are out cold. It’s okay,” she said.

I laid next to her and she looked at me. She stared at me for what seemed like an ice age.

“I like you. I would like to be with someone like you one day. You deserve someone great,” she said.
“You can be her if you wish. I would not mind it at all,” I said.

I held her hand to let her know my interest in her. She locked eyes with me and she understoox. She buried her head in my chest and I held her. The enigma had me. For a solid moment in time, me holding her felt right. She woke up after a while and sang to me “There’s a Light That Never Goes Out.”

“Bye, Sergio.”
“Bye, Darlene.”

And that was the last I saw of her. The texts stopped because her number changed. Jennifer did not talk to her anymore due to Darlene’s personal troubles with ex-boyfriends and family behind the scenes. We never did escape and we never did kiss. We did, however, sleep together for a single moment.

The enigma never reappeared.

Personal Ramblings: The Awkward Break-Up Without Closure

Personal Ramblings is back. This is where I put my heart, soul and dignity (at points) out on display for those to ponder and wonder “Who the hell is this guy anyway?” Today, we begin an odd journey into my psyche and my odd misadventures. They will make you laugh, cry or maybe a bit of a lesson along the way.

The Awkward Break-Up Without Closure

It was the beginning of August.

Well, the second week anyway. My mind was in full focus on the bright new future ahead of me. I enrolled the community college Cerritos College in order to pursue an acting major. I had decieed this early on because I knew goi g to a legit university or college would be a practical pain in the ass for my family. We are middle-class and Hispanic. I could get into a lower tier college and they would have called me a success. I had recently spent my summer with after high school trying to make sure I got to be with my friend’s one last real time in countless adventures to the beaches of Redondo and Santa Monica, voyages to late night cinema fare at the Vineland Drive-In and soda-stained seats of the local cinema and the ocassional underage drinking activities in the cracked driveways of peers. My current girlfriend at the time, Maria, was also by my side, but I noticed her begin to fade into the background. It is as if her timeline got screwed over by some jerk in a time machine and she was slowly turning away from me.

I did not have a car at the time to go see her and she was personally busy focusing on her prospective career as a colorgaurd gal. She entered competitions, performed with the greatest of ease doing a wide areat of flashy moves Jennifer Beals would envy and looked darn cute doing it. She was a brunette in those day instead of her faux scarlet haired-self these days with braces covering up her Crest Whitestrip smile. She was small in stature, but big in personality. She was the woman version of Freddie Mercury, flamboyant, vibrant and filled with energy. It was August as she was ready to go to a camp of sort to further her studies in colorgaurd. She was a senior in high school now and I was now going to be a freshman in college. That is when I finally felt something and that something was not right.

The “something not right” came on a beautiful Tuesday summer afternoon on August 10, 2010. I was at home in my room upstair downloading Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game I had just bought for my PlayStation 3 when a knock came at the door. I was aware Maria woukd be stopping by to pick up her copy of Breakfast at Tiffany’s she had lent me, resulting in what would be the last time I had ever had the urge or patience to watcn that movie again. I ran downstairs as if a suitor had arrived. Yes, I know that analogy is a bit strange, but it really felt like that. She came in with a gleaming smile and asked if we could go upstairs. I was estatic and ready to tell her all about what has been happening and everything. There was her in a white T-shirt and black shorts, her short length brunette hair and her gorgeous brown eyes staring at me. She asks for Breakfast at Tiffany’s, hugs me for a short while and holds me. She stared right into my soul with a grin on her face at that very moment. She was the “something not right.”

“It’s over.”

These two words made my heart collapse, my mind whirl and every pre-concieved concept of the future with her for the next year fall into sudden spiral. It was over and her she is, with Breakfast at Tiffany’s in her hand and a smile on her face it was done for. Me, in a sudden swirl of anger, sadness and even happiness, only asked the question I wanted to know.

“Why?,” I asked wondering if I was going to survive.
“It’s not you. It’s me. I am sorry. It’s just over. Goodbye,” she said, giving me the quickest and most non-answer answer in the book.
“Goodbye,” I said back slowly forming a whole variety of explanations in my mind.

So that was it. No awkwardness. Okay. I promised awkwardness. Bare witness to the awkward last words of former lovers ever.

“What do I do with the door?,” she asked.
“Just lock it and close it,” I replied back.
“Okay. Oh, there we go, I got it. Bye,” she said as her voice began to fade.
“Bye,” I said with a tear rolling down my face.

I saw my former beautiful Killer Queen run away from my house to her friend’s car smiling. I took this as the notion I should be happy. Instead, I went into full blown dumbass mode, played “Back in Black” by AC/DC louder than eleven, sang in a pitch equivalent to a cat getting strangled and drank a bit of Grey Goose stored away in the kitchen cabinets. Much to my disappointment, it had been replaced with water, but that is a story for a different day. My sister Jennifer came home to the aftermath of the idiot former boyfriend in tears and trying to cope with the sudden loss of romance. I was in need of a prescence of love and care as mine just left with Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard in romance by her side. I texted my ex-ex-girlfriend Gaby at the time.

Gaby was the first official girlfriend. She wasn’t considered the prettiest gal by most, but, for me, her personality is what drove me to her. She was smart, commanding and independant. She would not let anything get to her and she was a tough woman filled with pride. She looked similiar to Tina Bleecher, but without the confidence of a wet sock, yet had as much dry wit. We were on-and-off due to certain conflicts of if we were really good together or friends that should have never kissed or felt each other. She loved me though, even after we both agreed to end it.

She came over with her friend Joanna and they both got me the best comfort food in the form Funyuns and Mountain Dew to calm my nerves. Why Mountain Dew to calm me is beyond me, but it helped. We laid back, all three of us, and watched The Wedding Singer to help. It did not, but having to escape to a realm where Adam Sandler’s meek charms worked on Drew Barrymore was a nice piece of fiction that worked. Gaby then did something from our relationship to actually relax me. She stroked my hair and my ears to make sure I was okay. She held me soon after and I cried in her arms. In this small moment, I felt a sense of love again, but it was too soon to accept it in any way.

The next days were the worse of it.

I was on my way to vacation in Laughlin, Nevada before school started the next week. I was stuck in a hot car contemplating the relationship that had just died. I was seeing old senior couples holding hands at penny slots hoping for a big reward wondering if that would ever happen to me again. I was in a theater with my cousin Donovan and Jennifer watching Scott Pilgrim vs. the World wondering if I could have done more than what I had done to have kept her. I punched out a “STOP” sign by the Colorado River and broke it because I was so angry with the events of earlier that week. I looked into the Colorado River at night and saw the future’s reflection blurred and mangled in the water. I called Gaby twice just to tell her I was not well and my best friend Jerry as well to let him know that I was struggling.

After it ended, I went to my one and only class of the Fall 2010 semester called Acting for the Stage. Here, I toom my anger and frustation out on monologues of art apprasiers and serial killers, honing a craft I have now lost. I had an outlet to escape to. A classmate Melissa helped my improv come out and another classmate named Adam taught me to be the role, not just read the lines. In Acting for the Camera the next semster, I built friendships through my acting and realized I wanted to write. Writing and acting saved me, but one thing kept coming across my mind, I necer got closure. I knew I wanted it, but I was roped into trying to get a date with a classmate named Marcie with the help of fellow writer Lauren to comprehend even seeking an answer.

Yet, closure was the one thing I wanted and I sought to seek it. In early 2011, I had been convinced by an old friend named Britany to revisit the high school as a speaker. I went in and the first person I saw was Maria. She came up to me and hugged me as if we were cool again. She looked at me with the same eyes, the same smile she had when she left, her signature leather jacket, T-Shirt and jeans and this time nothing in her hand. My hand could have been back in hers, but it was not. I wanted to ask her, but my heart said “It will just kill you.”

Three years later…

Britany and I met up at a bus stop in Bell. I had finished attending a screening of Godzilla and was waiting. She saw me in her car and asked if I needed a lift. That lift turned into a trip to a bar in Downey. It was a dive bar similiar to what would be seen in an ABC soap opera. It was quaint with a smell of lung cancer and regrettable memories. It was here I got my closure.

“You know Maria?,” Britney said.
“Britney, you knew that. Why bring her up?,” I ask.
“You still wonder why she left, don’t you?,” she asked turning my question moot.
“Yes, only because I never got closure. She is happy with the guy she is with and I moved on, I replied knowing that Maria was far behind me already.
“She cheated on you with him. She only had you because you were a freshman. Once she saw you were leaving, she decided it was ti e for her to get her own,” she answered.

It was about her I replied with such rage and emotion. Such fury and passion.

“Well, I was not there for her enough and I don’t blame her,” I said. “It does hurt and it kills me and will continue to kill me. I am fine now. but after this beer and a long night of sleep, I am going to cry, contemplate life at this point and wonder if I am even a good boyfriend to the girlfriend I have now. I know I am, but now, I am fine. I have closure.”

Funny enough, Britney, Gaby and Joanna have all left my life, but Maria has always been in it, though in the background. She cheated and found someone better, but I cannot blame her. He loves her more than I ever could and she loves him more than she ever loved me. She has changed, but simply for the better. She is around to remind me that relationships end and new relationships form. She is around to show that life can go from normality to complete complexity in an instance. She is around to show negative actions can eventually work themselves out into a positive down the road. She’s a mystery to me.

Personal Ramblings: To the Defeated Goes the Spoils (Spoiler Alert)

Writer’s Note: Before we begin, I am back to writing for the site and plan to do so. In order to return, I have written the following opinion to get my head back in the game. Thanks for still sticking around those who have been reading since the beginning.
– Sergio “Serg Beret” Berrueta

As the internet grows and memes become popular about the latest in pop culture, everyone is in the know about practically everything that goes on in the media world. It’s unavoidable and widely accepted since information is available faster and in a matter of a simple Google search. What is unacceptable is spoilers.

And for the sake of this opinion, there will be spoilers abound. Fair warning now.

 

Yes, I know it sounds odd coming from me, the man who spoiled films in his Film A Week series, but the problem has less to do with spoiling classic films and spoiling things as they happen. Within seconds, any spoiler for any popular television or film is right on the news feed of Facebook and the timelines of Twitter. Tumblr makes long posts that are equal to epic Danish prose poems about it all to display their affection. Yet, there are few that want to avoid spoilers on the spot and try everything in their power to avoid any spoiler and must deal with this. I am one of those ready to come forward and say: You are ruining the fun of the experience.

Recently, I was browsing the top stories on IMDB.com and one in particular stor caught my eye with the headline “Colbie Smulders to Return to ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D'” from Entertainment Weekly and my curiousity got the better of me. Smulders’s previous show “How I Met Your Mother” (another show inescapable of spoilers) had just ended and it was about time for Maria Hill to make her way to the finale of the show. To my shock, Entertainment Weekly had the gall to spoil within their first paragraph a major plot point in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I have personally not seen the latest film, but to find out that Nick Fury gets killed in the film was a major shock or would have been if I had seen the film firsthand.

That is something Captain America would shield throw someone in the face for.

I guess the film making over $303 million dollars worldwide somehow translates into “Everyone has seen it and now we spoil the fun.” It does work that way. In fact, the only spoiler I would have known is that Bucky Barnes is the Winter Soldier, then again, that information is readily available for anyone to find out if they are researching the film for review or the characters out of curiosity. As a person ready to see the newest venture, I was virtually upset a major publication would do such a naive thing without warning before hand. As time goes on, the ‘spoiler game’ is becoming harder to avoid. For example, within two minutes of a major child character’s death in The Walking Dead, memes and jokes about it scoured the net. I feel for every fan of that show trying to avoid the variety of posts, but in the end, suffered from not being as shocked as others watching it at the same time. The public, however, is starting to become immune to the spoilers. How immune?

Yes, half of these are well known, but our immunity has been built. Wait…Soylent Green is people? F***.

The immunity has been built to the point that the slightest little spoiler will be minor blip on the radar and major ones get tossed by the wayside. In a recent study, the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) said that spoilers makes the viewer or reader enjoy the overall story and plot better than not knowing. I have actually tested this theory on more than one occasion to see if it would actually work. One film that worked knowing the spoiler was Citizen Kane. Knowing that Rosebud was his sled made Orson Welles’ Charles Foster Kane helped further the humanity of the character’s descent into power by his final words being the only remnant of his childhood life. It made the character all the more miserable in his late years as he focused on the last thing that made him whole. For me from a first time watcher, I appreciated his take on the character and his growth. The film is hailed as the greatest film of all time for this and many reasons (The Godfather is better, in my own opinion).

Spoilers, though hard to deal with, are here to stay, but as I avoid spoilers among the others ready to be surprised, we must have to come to terms that these are now commonplace. The enjoyment is something for the first time is dying fast, but we can still find solutions. If one sees a spoiler on Facebook or those sites, simply hide the posts or tweet to not let it bug you. Another option is to politely tell the person not to spoil any further as the are ruining it for everyone else that are waiting to see it or have been trying their best to gear up for what they want to experience. Don’t be an ass about it either, just be cautious and they will appreciate your honesty. The other great way to avoid spoilers is avoid trailers and Tv spots at all cost for what you want as they are notorious for giving away too much of the story. I have personally been doing that with The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Godzilla, and X-Men: Days of Future Past and I cannot wait to see what happens in these new installments of classic franchises. Now, with that said, I hope to appreciate The Amazing Spider-Man 2 without anything ruined for me.

Well, not anything. Spoiler alert.

In the Cyber World: A One Year Anniversary Special

Today was an average day. I woke up from a pretty decent sleep I do not remember getting into since I passed out after a long day at my school. I put on my clothes after having showered the night before and went back to East Los Angeles College to embrace in the world of hard-hitting journalism, studying and wasting my thoughts on personal emotions stirred up inside. Entering my first class adjacent to the newsroom, I went to my desk computer and sent in an application and logged into WordPress, only to find that it has been a year since this site launch. Really? It’s been a year already I thought to myself. A year spent on dedicating my thoughts on cinema, a fictional British character, spreading poems and trying to make sure this is not a huge vanity project. After a year, I am glad to say, damn, it really has been quite a year.

I first started this blog with a purpose and that purpose was to share my opinions, thoughts and humorous notes. The blog never found its proper footing until the pretentious as hell (yes, I can finally admit that looking back on it) 007 in 23 series focusing on James Bond. It gave me the will to write again everyday and pursue this as a potential career even if I end up broke. Between November and December though, I started to neglect the blog as I started the groundwork to work on a personal pet project of mine I wanted to make: Film A Week.

FilmaWeek

Film A Week is my child and one that I wanted to make go from just me writing to getting other people involved into writing it. It was created to entertain  and spun from the 007 in 23 series to continue writing more. I also dived into Personal Ramblings and posting old poetry and lyrics. With FAW, I wanted to collaborate and expand to have others involved. Even better was collaborating with my mentor and friend Jesus Figueroa of Thisfunktional.com & IWatchMike.com and eight other websites god knows he works for to expand my personal goals. I even got more in touch with my cohorts in the ELAC Campus News team that are nothing short of amazing. Hell, I even worked alongside Jesus at the Anime Expo 2013 and it was fantastic as hell. Never for a second would I trade that experience for the world. FAW is not over and I am not finished collaborating and this site is certainly here to stay, yet something just does not seem right. This how venture would not be possible without a majority of people I wish to thank right now. I may get emotional while writing, so bare with it please.

Tissues here if needed

First off, let me thank the amazing group of people I work with known as the ELAC Campus News team.

I want to start off with Erik Luna who was one of the first people besides Jesus to step up to the plate to write a review for this site. Personally, Erik is a leader and a good natured person who hates to see anything bad happen to anyone and, somehow, puts up with me. Next, Lindsey Maeda, who I served under before for one semester, worked alongside her on laying out a page back when I was a mere copyeditor and now happily serving under again. This woman is remarkable with a kind soul and a pure delight to be around. Without her, I would be lost in the journalism sea confused, hungry and wondering what in the hell I got myself into.

Also getting me out of the muck is Danny Vasquez, who was originally going to write for a review, but had to cancel. This man is brilliant, courageous and taught me that I should not worry because I am alive and being alive is what I should be happy about. Former Editor-in-Chief Megan Perry who is now venturing on her own course helped build me into a better writer and editor. She taught me the importance of working with others, how to appreciate everyone around my world, flaws and all.  Another important person as part of staff is Jesus Figueroa who has contributed to this site countless times, be it sharing press releases, writing reviews or even just promoting his site, Jesus has been a part of this small site. Without his contribution both online and offline, I do not think I could be where I am today. Finally, a former Veteran of the Campus News, Veronica Hurtado for contributing her review of Roman Holiday on short notice and coming through surprisingly well. She is pretty darn awesome and knows what she is talking about.

Everyone from the staff writers to the photo people are beyond brilliant and a mixture of personalities that no one would ever think about ever working together. Yet, somehow, it makes the ELAC Campus News keep going and striving to be something more than a paper.

To my friends, I have kind words for you as well. My best friend, Gerardo Monroy aka Jerry has not been featured on the site just yet. This man I met back in the year 2004 and has been my best friend since then. With his honesty and confident nature, he has helped me grow into a stronger man. Jerry is a friend I never that I would be able to have around in my life and earns the title of my best friend for many reasons. I would not trade him for the world unless Dianna Agron were to walk right into the room we are in, then I would trade him.

Seriously, Jerry, I would

To all my other friends, I have too many to thank for their individual contributions, so screw it, I made a list:

  • Alejandra Carrillo for teaching the harshest of lessons I needed a refresher on
  • Antonio Uribe for letting me understand I can be a nerd and damn proud of it
  • Rosuara Montes for giving me the will to see the beauty of romance and regain confidence I lost
  • Alex Aguayo for allowing me to see that I can be comfortable in my own skin and with who I am
  • Marissa Roxanne Brown for being one of the first ‘fans’ on the internet who supports everything I do
  • Ilse Torres for showing me that I can break out of my comfort zone and to take risks
  • Jasmin Acosta for telling me that I can be more open to possibilities
  • Andrew Miramontes for being a down to earth person that showed me that reality is what we make of it

Trust me, that is just a few out of the many people I absolutely appreciate. If I could list more of them, this post would already be longer than it is now.

Finally, a nice thank you to my family. My family keeps me going and believes I can make it from where I once was. Before in the past, I would have been a lost cause and stuck somewhere much worse, but due to their words of wisdom, I am glad to be alive and ready for the next step. The main person that keeps me going is my grandfather who never for a second lost hope in my accomplishment. He knows exactly what I have gone through to achieve my potential goals and more. I love that man more than anything in the world. My mother is also another person that keeps me going for the same reason as my grandfather, but encouraged me to take new adventures and explore my world further, something she said she wish she had the chance to do. To every else in the family from my darling sister Jennifer to my uncles Ricky and Alex, I appreciate every waking moment they are involved in.

As for the future of this site, it is wait and see at this point. There are a ton of things I am working on and will want to happen soon for the site and in my personal life like a nice internship. Till whatever I decide to do in order to move further, this post was all of the ones that are here for me, the site and will be in the future.